OWENSBORO, Ky. — Kameron Carpenter and Keshawn Jones secured berths in the NAIA National Championship as individuals, while also leading the University of Rio Grande to a third place finish as a team in Saturday’s River States Conference Men’s Cross Country Championships at Yellow Creek Park.
Carpenter, a senior from Newark, Ohio, finished the 8K course in a time of 26:56 and placed seventh overall, earning first team All-RSC honors in the process.
Jones, a junior from Mansfield, Ohio, was ninth in a time of 27:05 and was named to the All-RSC second team based on his finish.
As a result of being two of the top six finishers who were not members of the winning team, Carpenter and Jones also punched their respective tickets to take part in the NAIA National Championship on Friday, Nov. 16, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Rio Grande tallied 93 points as team, finishing behind conference champion west Virginia University-Tech and runner-up Point Park University.
WVU-Tech totaled 29 points and placed six all-conference honorees including Dan Nehnevaj, who led the Golden Bears to the title by placing first overall with a time of 26:20 and earning both Runner of the Year and Newcomer of the Year honors.
WVU Tech head coach Jeremy Bloom was awarded RSC Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year.
The Golden Bears had four runners in the top 10 with Brandon Hudson (26:43) in fourth, Nicholas Lee (26:48) in fifth and Michael Ecker-Randolph (26:56) in sixth.
Point Park (Pa.) University took runner-up honors with 80 points and was led by second-overall finisher Xavier Stephens at 26:37.
The top seven finishers earned All-RSC First Team honors with the next seven being tabbed All-RSC Second Team.
WVU-Tech advances as a team to the NAIA National Championship. Point Park also will advance if it is ranked in the Top 30 of Monday’s final rankings.
Unless Point Park earns a selection as team, the list of individuals joining Carpenter and Jones at the national event would include Stephens, Asbury’s Justin Spoon (3rd, 26:38), Brescia’s Kyle Robinson (8th, 27:00) and Ohio Christian’s Drake Dickerson (10th, 27:05).
Also representing Rio Grande in the race was junior River Spicer (West Milton, OH), who finished 18th in a time of 27:43; freshman Collin Doughty (Marietta, OH), who placed 28th in a time of 28:03; sophomore Mohamed Farah (Galloway, OH), who was 31st after crossing in 28:13; Alan Holdheide, who was 91st in the 117-runner field with a time of 31:39; and sophomore Dean Freitag (Magnolia, OH), who finished 102nd with a time of 32:48.
The conference also named its Champions of Character Team, which included one member from each squad who was nominated by her head coach and who best exhibits the five character values of NAIA Champions of Charater of respect, responsibility, servant leadership and sportsmanship.
Freitag was Rio’s honoree on the team.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.